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What Does a “Normal” Human Genome Look Like? | Science
So, what have our first glimpses of variation in the genomes of generally healthy people taught us? First, balancing selection, the evolutionary process that favors genetic diversification rather than the fixation of a single “best” variant, appears to play a minor role outside the immune system. Local adaptation, which accounts for variation in traits such as pigmentation, dietary specialization, and susceptibility to particular pathogens is also a second-tier player. What is on the top tier? Increasingly, the answer appears to be mutations that are “deleterious” by biochemical or standard evolutionary criteria. These mutations, as has long been appreciated, overwhelmingly make up the most abundant form of nonneutral variation in all genomes. A model for human genetic individuality is emerging in which there actually is a “wild-type” human genome—one in which most genes exist in an evolutionarily optimized form. There just are no “wild-type” humans: We each fall short of this Platonic ideal in our own distinctive ways.
article  essay  org:nat  🌞  bio  biodet  genetics  genomics  mutation  genetic-load  QTL  evolution  sapiens  survey  summary  coding-theory  enhancement  signal-noise  egalitarianism-hierarchy  selection  tradeoffs  immune  recent-selection  perturbation  nibble  ideas 
22 hours ago by nhaliday
Writing Nameless Things: An Interview with Ursula K. Le Guin - Los Angeles Review of Books
"How do you feel about ebooks these days?

When I started writing about ebooks and print books, a lot of people were shouting, “The book is dead, the book is dead, it’s all going to be electronic.” I got tired of it. What I was trying to say is that now we have two ways of publishing, and we’re going to use them both. We had one, now we have two. How can that be bad? Creatures live longer if they can do things in different ways. I think I’ve been fairly consistent on that. But the tone of my voice might have changed. I was going against a trendy notion. There’s this joke I heard. You know what Gutenberg’s second book was, after the Bible? It was a book about how the book was dead."

"You once clarified your political stance by saying, “I am not a progressive. I think the idea of progress an invidious and generally harmful mistake. I am interested in change, which is an entirely different matter.” Why is the idea of progress harmful? Surely in the great sweep of time, there has been progress on social issues because people have an idea or even an ideal of it.

I didn’t say progress was harmful, I said the idea of progress was generally harmful. I was thinking more as a Darwinist than in terms of social issues. I was thinking about the idea of evolution as an ascending staircase with amoebas at the bottom and Man at the top or near the top, maybe with some angels above him. And I was thinking of the idea of history as ascending infallibly to the better — which, it seems to me, is how the 19th and 20th centuries tended to use the word “progress.” We leave behind us the Dark Ages of ignorance, the primitive ages without steam engines, without airplanes/nuclear power/computers/whatever is next. Progress discards the old, leads ever to the new, the better, the faster, the bigger, et cetera. You see my problem with it? It just isn’t true.

How does evolution fit in?

Evolution is a wonderful process of change — of differentiation and diversification and complication, endless and splendid; but I can’t say that any one of its products is “better than” or “superior to” any other in general terms. Only in specific ways. Rats are more intelligent and more adaptable than koala bears, and those two superiorities will keep rats going while the koalas die out. On the other hand, if there were nothing around to eat but eucalyptus, the rats would be gone in no time and the koalas would thrive. Humans can do all kinds of stuff bacteria can’t do, but if I had to bet on really long-term global survival, my money would go to the bacteria."
usulaleguin  2017  evolution  progress  change  diversity  differentiation  diversification  complication  difference  ebooks  publishing  writing  sciencefiction  scifi 
yesterday by robertogreco
Tweet de Rafik Smati (@RafikSmati)
La robotique progresse. Ils sont encore lents et hésitants sous cette forme, mais font des sauts périlleux...
robotique  evolution  numérique  cours.hardware 
2 days ago by fschoubben
Introducing Nullable Reference Types in C#
A good story of evolving a language to add a useful feature in the face of a large install base. A thoughtful approach to adding this feature.
csharp  programming  software  evolution 
2 days ago by jefframnani
Tweet de Futurism (@futurism)
Une oreillette pour traduire automatiquement les langues étrangères
traduction  evolution  futur  cours.enjeux  cours.hardware 
2 days ago by fschoubben
Entering the Quantum Era—How Firefox got fast again and where it’s going to get faster – Mozilla Hacks – the Web developer blog
Another great story about how to evolve a large existing code base with a large user base.

This is the opportunity that the Chrome engineers foresaw. We saw it too, but we had a bumpier path to get there. Since we had an existing code base we needed to plan for how to split up that code base to take advantage of multiple cores.

Electrolysis laid the groundwork for Project Quantum. It introduced a kind of multi-process architecture similar to the one that Chrome introduced. Because it was such a big change, we introduced it slowly, testing it with small groups of users starting in 2016 before rolling it out to all Firefox users in mid-2017.

File under: browsers are becoming operating systems. In this case Firefox is adding their own preemptive scheduler to prioritize tasks.

Even when you split up the content windows between cores and have a separate main thread for each one, there are still a lot of tasks that main thread needs to do. And some of them are more important than others. For example, responding to a keypress is more important than running garbage collection. Quantum DOM gives us a way to prioritize these tasks. This makes Firefox more responsive. Most of this work has landed, but we still plan to take this further with something called pre-emptive scheduling.
firefox  browser  refactoring  performance  software  evolution 
3 days ago by jefframnani

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